Perhaps because it is a misdemeanor and very commonly-charged, many people think that first-time DWI is not a very serious matter. Yes, there is probation, drivers’ license suspension, and a fine. But these direct consequences are usually manageable.
However, in addition to the direct consequences, DWI has a number of indirect consequences. ALtogether, the average cost of a first-time offense may be up to $25,000. This figure does not include the emotional consequences of a DWI. IN many cases, these costs can be quite high.
These indirect consequences underscore the need for a good St. Paul DWI attorney. Your lawyer must aggressively attack the state’s evidence right from the start. This assertive stance often yields a dismissal of charges or a not-guilty verdict at trial. Occasionally, a St. Paul DWI attorney can perform effective damage control regarding collateral consequences. But that’s not always the case. If a lawyer is too timid, the defendant may have to deal with all the indirect consequences of a DWI.
Higher auto insurance rates comprise much of the aforementioned $25,000 figure. Upon conviction, DWI defendants must obtain high-risk auto insurance and keep it for at least three years.
High-risk insurance is always rather costly. If the defendant was already in a high-risk category, perhaps due to age, gender, or crash history, the cost may be almost crippling.
Furthermore, there is no guarantee that auto insurance rates will drop after three years. Drivers may shop around for lower coverage options, but they may or may not be available, largely depending on the defendant’s driving record.
The IID requirement may be the big one. One of these gadgets in your vehicle is basically the scarlet letter of driving while intoxicated. Everyone who gets inside your car, such as the neighbor kids you take to school and the coworkers in your carpool, will know that you have a DWI on your record.
IIDs are essentially portable Breathalyzers which are attached to the vehicle’s ignition. Before they turn the key, drivers must provide a breath sample. If the sample indicates a BAC content above a certain level, which is usually .04, the vehicle will not start.
Furthermore, while the vehicle is in motion, the driver must periodically provide additional breath samples. Too many rolling refusals, and the vehicle will not restart after stopping. Moreover, a single rolling failure disables the ignition and prevents restarting.
The defendant must pay for IID installation and maintenance. Typically, these gadgets include digital cameras. So, if the defendant has a sober person provide a breath sample, the IID monitoring service will know about the attempted circumvention.
IIDs are normally mandatory in DWI conviction cases, so a St. Paul DWI attorney may not be able to do anything about the requirement. However, an attorney can ask the court to modify the conditions of probation and remove the IID requirement. If the driver has two or three incident-free months, many Ramsey County judges are willing to do so. At any rate, the worst thing they can do is say “no.” So, there is no risk in trying.
Do you look forward to an occasional trip to Manitoba or Ontario? If you have a DWI on your record, you will probably have to change your travel plans.
DWI is a felony in Canada. As a result, DWI is an excludable offense under the Immigration Act. Border officials may refuse to let you into the country. This exclusion is permanent. Even if the DWI occurred twenty or thirty years ago, it is still an excludable offense.
Driving risk is not just a problem for insurance rates. Most employers run criminal background checks during the interview process. Even if a jurisdiction has a “ban the box” law which limits such inquiries, criminal background questions are only illegal during the screening process. When employers take a closer look at a candidate, this closer look usually includes a criminal check.
In many cases, a DWI conviction is a dealbreaker. Even if the job only requires occasional travel, a drinking and driving conviction may bar employment. Sometimes, a company’s carrier refuses to insure such drivers. Other times, it’s simply a matter of preference.
Even if you do not change jobs, a DWI conviction could be an issue. Many employers conduct background checks on current employees, to see if anything pops up.
Defense attorneys must account for both direct and indirect consequences of criminal charges. For a free consultation with an experienced St. Paul DWI attorney, contact Capitol City Law Group, LLC. Go online now, call us at (651) 998-7634, or stop by 287 6th St E, Suite 20, St Paul, MN 55101.